1. Effectual or important.
    He's usually in a good mood — the operative word there being "usually". Today was a disaster.
  2. Functional, in working order.
  3. Having the power of acting; hence, exerting force, physical or moral; active in the production of effects.
    an operative motive
    • It holds in all operative principles.
  4. Producing the appropriate or designed effect; efficacious.
    an operative dose, rule, or penalty
  5. Based upon, or consisting of, a surgical operation or operations.
    operative surgery
Related terms Translations Translations Translations Noun

operative (plural operatives)

  1. An employee or other worker with some particular function or skill.
  2. A spy, secret agent, or detective.
  3. A participant in an operation.

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